Reviews

October 8, 2013

The Danger in Cohesion: Tom Perrotta’s Nine Inches 1

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Taken as a collection, Nine Inches reveals a fatal flaw that undermines the skilled artistry: Perrotta’s heavy hand.

October 3, 2013

The Life that Develops In-Between: On Elizabeth Graver’s The End of the Point 7

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Unless you’re kicking it with the Compsons or Buendias, say, it usually takes a little bit of readerly patience to get through a multigenerational family story. One has to be on one’s game, in terms of care and attention. Nobody wants to spend several hundred pages with a bunch of allegorical figures sitting around the dinner table and passing each other the salt.

October 1, 2013

A Slingshot Full of Stories: Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath 12

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In David and Goliath, Gladwell appears to have started with an answer and then gone looking for people to prove him right.

September 30, 2013

Screwing Up and Falling in Love: Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park and Fangirl 1

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Both books are about how falling in love for the first time, particularly if you’ve never seen a love story you can relate to, can be as terrifying and confusing as it is joyful.

September 30, 2013

You Must Read Kevin Barry 2

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Kevin Barry’s new collection of stories, Dark Lies the Island, shares the virtues that made his debut novel, City of Bohane, such an astonishment. There is rich music, high humor and deep blackness on every page.

September 26, 2013

Childish Things: Aimee Bender’s The Color Master 3

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These stories are quirky, creepy, even awkward and gimmicky in parts, the way a fairytale can be when one puts away childish things. Bender’s great gift to us all is her fierce unwillingness to give up her childishness.

September 25, 2013

Queens As a Metaphor for the World: On Jonathan Lethem’s Dissident Gardens 1

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Using the New York City borough of Queens as a linchpin, Jonathan Lethem’s latest novel questions the American twentieth century’s “great comedy: that Communism had never existed, not once. So what was there to oppose?”

September 24, 2013

The Heart of My Life, the Life of My Heart 0

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Not all books can make us cry and those that do are often so shamefully sentimental that we can’t easily admit to reading them, let alone crying with them. This, however, is not the case with Julian Barnes’s Levels of Life, a novella-length text in three chapters, which produces in its reader tears of the most literary kind.

September 20, 2013

Zen and the Art of Pie Making 0

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A great pie is a product of both skill and wisdom; as, I believe, is a great life.

September 18, 2013

More Tire Tracks in the Rose Beds: On David Shields and Shane Salerno’s Salinger 5

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If this new project, hyped as one of the great literary reveals of our time, cannot help us find Salinger, what can?